We had Rae at home with us last week. Having just gotten home from a month in Thailand and Cambodia visiting temples, attending weddings and island hopping she was understandably exhausted. So when Bill came over to the house over the weekend Rae wasn’t really up for entertaining despite a few beers on offer and my breaking out the miraculous Falling Tower Game. A poor substitute for Jenga, this collection of wooden bricks is remarkable if only because it was conceived with no thought
of proportions or dynamics or even basic physics. When you arrange one row of bricks you notice that they do not measure the same as the side of bricks above or below which creates a structure that is not so much a tower as a pile of delicately-poised rubble. In Jenga the handicap is dictated by how much you’ve had to drink but here it’s the game itself. Attempts to improve our evening’s entertainment with Trivial Pursuit were shortlived after we remembered (as we do every time we play) that we weren’t born in the US in the early seventies and were unlikely to know to many of the answers. The plan of going to the pub was hit upon and after Rae made her excuses Bill and I were left to go on our Man Date (I think Courtney may have coined that one – Liam?).
The Pheasant in Welland is awful. Armed with this irrefutable piece of knowledge we marched up the road to The Marlbank which has undergone a new lease of life and these days regularly plays host to all manor or cavorting and merriment on a Saturday evening. Acknowledging that we were done messing about on the board game scene, Bill and I got on with the serious business of getting drunk. After a few rounds we hit on the dazzingly original idea of crashing the 21st birthday party in the marquee outside. This was easy enough but due to the party being comprised of family rather than friends of the birthday girl and the party lacking those high-octane thrills necessary for the craic (and it having been altogether too easy to gain access), we suspected that it might not really be the place to be. It was about this time that we found out that the Birthday Party Party had requested karaoke in the lounge. Now we were both pretty wrecked at this stage and it so happens that this is the optimum condition for wanting to sing appalling songs at the top of your voice to a room full of people you’ve never met before in your life. Amazingly we picked a half decent song first and belted out a passable rendition of “Baggy Trousers” by Madness. Somehow our standards then sank to “Lady In Red” by Chris de Burgh and culminated with Diana Ross’s “Chain Reaction”. We were just about able to remain standing for each but I think we may have been unable to read the words on the screen because I have a vague memory of us singing anything that came into out heads in a tune that in no way resembled either of those songs. We certainly substituted the verses for long drawn out reinterpretations of the choruses. In a way we had achieved the challenge that someone relishes in a game of Jenga; we were drunk and trying to keep the structures of our bodies upright despite the overwhelming absence of balance or co-ordination.
I have no memory after that point. Despite our bad behaviour and complete disregard for anyone else in the pub that night, and being blind drunk, I can tell you that the birthday girl was called Michelle and she appeared to have good time. Whether her family did or not I can’t say but it may be some time before I can go back to the only acceptable pub within a mile of my house. Blast.